One of my favorite ways to use Google Search Console to increase traffic to my blog is to monitor the keywords assigned by Google to my content and the (estimated) ranking. With a few extra clicks, you can also zoom in and check the Google keyword ranking assigned per post.
This information will show if you’re on the right track, how your keyword strategy and optimization are progressing. While you may not be receiving traffic from Google yet, it’s helpful to know that your post is at least on the list.
Make sure you’ve signed up for Google Search Console first. It will take at least a few days to a week to start seeing updates for an established blog. For newer blogs (less than 6 months), seeing the information may take longer.
TIP : Install the Keywords Everywhere browser plugin to show the approximate search volume for each keyword assigned to your blog and content. Note this will not be included in any files you download since the information is not coming directly from the Google report.
Let’s take a quick look at the steps to filter the Performance report to show the keyword ranking per post
I saw this trick posted for the old version of Google Webmasters Tools. Here’s the approach for the new Google Search Console Performance report.
1. Log into Google Search Console
Log into Google Search Console and make sure you’re looking at the right website URL in the upper left.
2. Click “Performance” in the left menu
The initial “Queries” list shows you all the keywords assigned to your blog in general.
3. Click on “Average CTR” and “Average position”
This will show additional information in the information grid and graph.
Average CTR gives you an idea of the percentage of times that someone saw your post (impressions) and clicked the link to your post in a search result list.
Average position shows the average of where your blog post is located in the search result list for a specific keyword. The accuracy can be a little off, but this gives you an indication of how close your posts are to the top.
4 Click on “Pages” below the graph
Change the view of the keywords list to look at the pages from your blog that Google has indexed and is including in various search results.
What’s nice about this view is it shows the overall impressions per blog post (URL). Each blog post is likely ranking for multiple keywords, not just your focus keyword.
5 Click on one of your blog post URLs
Now choose a post you want additional keyword information about and click the link. This refreshes the list, showing only that URL.
6. Click on “Queries” again.
By changing the view back to the keywords list, you’re now looking at the keyword ranking information filtered by the specific blog post. You’ll also notice above the grid an extra bubble that indices “Page: https://…“ showing the list is filtered.
If you have Keywords Everywhere installed, refresh the page (either using the spinner icon in the browser header or Control+R). This will reactivate the keyword volume information from Keywords Everywhere.
To return to the full set of keyword rankings (or to zoom in on another blog post), click the X in the “page:” bubble at the top. You’ll need to clear the “page” filter before following the steps 4 – 6 for the next blog post.
How this information is useful
While seeing all the keywords is interesting and useful for ideas, it’s also helpful to zoom in on the keywords assigned to a specific post. For an established blog (at least 6 months) and blog post (published more than a few months), Google will likely assign multiple keywords to your content. It will take time for a blog post to be assigned keywords and hopefully move up the rankings to receive clicks.
Google Search Console will help you:
- Confirm if you and Google agree about your focus keyword,
- Identify variations of the keyword you should be considering, and
- Brainstorm new posts that might be worth writing.
Let’s assume for a minute that you’re blog is at least 6 months old and the blog post was published a few months ago. For newer blogs and posts, most of this information will take time to show up. And the keywords assigned will continue to grow over time.
If your blog post has not been assigned your focus keyword or any keywords, you may need to go back and work on your optimization strategy. And possibly your keyword research strategy. For example: are you targeting a keyword that people are using to search? Have you used the keyword in the right places in your blog post? Have you worked on building backlinks and internal links to the post?
If your blog post (published for a while) has not been assigned keywords, you likely need to take a closer look at your keyword research and optimization strategy again. Trust me, I’ve been there. I tried focusing on the wrong keyword and Google couldn’t figure out any keywords that my post was a decent search result candidate for. Either rewrite and optimize the current post or consider starting with a new post that’s optimized at the start. That will depend on how close the current keyword is to your new focus keyword.
For additional keyword variations, consider sprinkling those variations in throughout the post, either by adjusting the text you already have or adding a new paragraph or section. You don’t need to do this for every keyword, but for the ones the potentially have traffic value.
If you see new keywords that are related but sufficiently different, this may be an indication that a new blog post could rank for that search term. Do your regular keyword research to determine if it’s a blog post worth writing. What does the competition look like? Does this add value to your readers? This could be a content gap that’s useful to fill for both your readers as well as extend your Google reach.
Over to you? Have you been using Google Search Console to check the keyword ranking per post? Or was this a new idea?
I used this method in the past to identify and grow my content to support both regular traffic as well as affiliate marketing earnings. Once you start to learn a few of the keyword combinations, you can also use them in your initial keyword research. You’ll likely start to notice patterns in the types of searches that drive traffic to your blog.
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